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Film Review: “Tag”

by Art U News

“This is just what we love,” explains Isla Fisher’s delightfully overzealous character Anna Malloy in “Tag,” the uproarious new comedy directed by Jeff Tomsic (“Broad City”). Based on a true story (yes, really), Ed Helms (“The Hangover”), Jon Hamm (“Baby Driver”), Jake Johnson (“New Girl”), Hannibal Buress (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) play a group of friends that every year, for the entire month of May, regardless of their current life situation, reunite to continue their game of tag that they’ve been playing together since fifth grade. One of the friends, Jerry (Renner), has yet to be tagged in the 30 years they’ve been playing.

This year, Hoagie (Helms) rounds up his pals Callahan (Hamm), Chilli (Johnson) and Sable (Buress) as he readies a plot to finally tag Jerry, who is said to be retiring from the game after the month of May is over. Also along for the ride are Anna, Hoagie’s wife (Fisher, “Now You See Me”), and Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis, “The Mummy”), a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, who was initially doing a piece on Callahan, but upon hearing about the friends’ annual tradition decided to tag along, so to speak, to witness the shenanigans first hand.

Once they’re all gathered back in their hometown of Spokane, Hoagie reveals the plan to tag Jerry will take place during his wedding weekend, where they’re hoping to get the drop on him when he’s least expecting it. What they didn’t count on was the groom being more than prepared to keep his streak of never being tagged alive.

What transpires is quite possibly the most intense and creative game of tag seen on the big screen. With a group of actors ready to go all-out (Renner broke both his arms during a stunt at the beginning of production) combined with a laugh-out-loud funny script, “Tag” has all of the elements you could want from an action-comedy film.

While the premise of the film could have easily ventured off into dude-bro territory, “Tag” pulls on the reins and rightly showcases the comedic chops of its supporting ladies. Fisher, in particular, is outstanding in her role, as her eccentric character is just as competitive about the game as her husband and pals are. Playing Jerry’s soon-to-be bride Susan Rollins, Leslie Bibb (“Iron Man 2”) is also a standout, and a key cog in the film’s wheel, as her character forces a special game amendment in order to not have her wedding day ruined, thus creating a challenge for the group as they prepare to take their shot at finally tagging their elusive friend.

At first blush, the idea of a movie about an annual game of tag might sound ridiculous, however, being that most of us lose touch with our childhood friends once we’re adults, there’s an endearing quality that can’t be overlooked. With entertaining, over the top hijinks and amusing dialogue from start to finish, “Tag” is the first true must-see comedy of the summer, garnering the most laughter I have heard in a theater in a good while.

“Tag” is now playing in theaters.

Featured photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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